Frontrunning: December 5

  • LA port workers to return Wednesday (AP)
  • Iran says extracts data from U.S. spy drone (Reuters)
  • Obama to stress need to raise debt limit "without drama" (Reuters)
  • Big Lots Chief Probed by SEC (WSJ)
  • NATO missiles to be sent to Turkey, Syria clashes rage (Reuters)
  • Japan Can End Deflation in Months, Shirakawa Professor Says (BBG) ... almost as good as Bernanke ending inflation in 15 minutes.
  • GOP Deficit Plan Irks Conservatives (WSJ)
  • Osborne Prepares to Breach Fiscal Rules Amid U.K. Growth Slump (BBG)
  • Global Banking Under Siege as Regulators Guard National Interest (BBG)
  • Freeport plans return to energy (FT)
  • Serbian NATO envoy jumps to death at Brussels airport (Reuters)
  • Tide Turns After a Flood of Chinese Listings (WSJ)
  • Australian economy loses steam (FT)
  • Euro Crisis Feeds Corruption as Greece Slides in Rankings (BBG)
  • Tesco signals end of American dream (FT)
  • EU imposes record $1.92 billion cartel fine on Philips, five others (Reuters)
  • Paris Faces Darkness as City Set for Illumination Ban (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an inquiry into a $10 million sale of stock by Big Lots Inc Chief Executive Steven Fishman before the company announced news that sank its stock, a person familiar with the inquiry said.

* Conservatives on Tuesday took aim at House Speaker John Boehner's deficit-reduction proposal in the fiscal cliff talks, a dispute that was aggravated by Boehner's decision to remove some conservatives from prized committees.

* Netflix Inc signaled that it is ready to rumble with traditional pay-TV channels such as HBO and Showtime. The Internet video company outbid Liberty Media Corp's Starz for the exclusive right to show Walt Disney Co movies about eight months after they hit theaters, establishing Netflix as a legitimate competitor to premium cable-TV channels by offering additional popular content for its Internet video streaming service.

* HSBC Holdings Plc said on Wednesday it is selling its entire stake in Ping An Insurance (Group) Co to Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group for 72.74 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$9.39 billion).

* Samsung Electronics Co on Wednesday promoted the grandson of the company's founder to the position of vice chairman, a widely expected move that puts Jay Lee a step closer to eventually heading the electronics firm.

* Computer-chip giant Intel Corp is borrowing $6 billion in part to buy back stock, as U.S. companies continue to make use of forgiving debt markets to make bigger payouts to their shareholders.

* Detroit auto makers are piling up big stocks of passenger cars at dealers despite brisk new-vehicle sales in the U.S. - a problem that executives vowed to avoid since their painful downturn three years ago.




George Osborne will be forced to extend austerity deep into the next parliament, as he presents a bleak Autumn Statement against the backdrop of weaker growth and a larger deficit.


Philip Clarke, chief executive of Britain's biggest retailer, is expected to announce a strategic review of Fresh & Easy, alongside its third-quarter trading update on Wednesday.


Companies might be able to slash the deficits on their pension schemes at the stroke of a pen after a consultation to be unveiled by chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday.


Lord Stevenson, former chairman of HBOS, was pilloried by Parliament after letters emerged in which he assured the City watchdog that the bank was secure just six months before its collapse.


Plans to create a eurozone banking union stalled on Tuesday after Germany's finance minister cautioned over moving too quickly, casting doubts over whether the EU would seal a deal in 2012.


Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, has agreed to buy a 7.3 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel in a deal to end the company's long-running shareholder conflict.


Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is claiming as much as $1bn in damages from Swiss Re, the reinsurer it propped up during the financial crisis with an emergency capital injection.


US bank regulators are joining fellow bank supervisors in examining proposals to force the largest and most complex financial institutions to fund themselves with more long-term debt.


KP Snacks is about to be sold to German snacks maker Intersnack, paving the way for a possible disposal of the rest of United Biscuits' brands, including McVitie's Jaffa cakes next year, people familiar with the matter said.



* HSBC Holdings, one of Europe's biggest banks, said on Wednesday it would sell its entire stake in a leading Chinese insurer to a Thai conglomerate for 72.7 billion Hong Kong dollars ($9.4 billion.)

* Walt Disney Studios said on Tuesday that it had completed a deal to show films from its Disney, Pixar and Marvel banners on Netflix, replacing a less lucrative pact with Starz.

* Baxter International agreed on Tuesday to buy the Swedish medical equipment manufacturer Gambro for 18.3 billion Swedish crowns ($2.77 billion). Under the terms of the deal, Baxter will gain access to the Swedish company's lineup of medical equipment to expand its own range of dialysis products and build global market share.

* Former Goldman Sachs director, Rajat Gupta, may remain free on bail while he challenges his insider-trading conviction, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. Gupta, 64, was found guilty in June of leaking Goldman's boardroom secrets to his friend, the former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

* Republicans and Democrats are struggling to find common ground on a long-term debt deal. But as economic growth has weakened this quarter, they are at odds over what the flagging recovery needs in the immediate future, too.

* Finance ministers of the European Union were deadlocked on Tuesday over how to create a single banking supervisor for the euro zone, delaying a decision on a new system that is supposed to prevent future financial crises.

* Smartphone apps that use the Internet, rather than cell networks, to send messages among users, often free of charge, are forcing wireless providers to change their pricing models.

* Students are demanding that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks in hopes of bringing climate change onto the national political agenda.




* The Ontario government is sending in a team to advise the Toronto District School Board on how to fix its operations following revelations of overspending on routine maintenance and major construction projects along with a growing deficit.

* Human resources minister Diane Finley said on Tuesday that many jobless Canadians who have been denied Employment Insurance benefits are waiting too long for appeals of those decisions to be heard.

Reports in the business section:

* Malaysia's state owned Petronas has made an 11th-hour public commitment to dramatically expand its proposed natural gas export plant on Canada's West Coast if Ottawa approves its C$6 billion ($6.04 billion) takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp.

* Residential sales in Greater Vancouver's housing market tumbled in November, though sellers aren't panicking. Sales of single-family detached homes, condos and townhouses were down nearly 29 per cent from a year earlier, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Tuesday.


* The Harper government pledged on Tuesday night to preserve hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.


* Three of Canada's largest oil companies have posted cautious budgets for 2013 amid uncertain pipeline plans, volatile oil and gas prices and efforts to keep costs from rising.




--China's consumer price index (CPI) could rebound to 2.3 percent year-on-year in November due to a rebound in food prices, analysts said.


--Twelve listed companies have bought back a total of 9 billion yuan ($1.45 billion) in shares so far this year.

--Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co LTD said in a statement that it plans to pay 805 million yuan to buy 6 million tons of rare earths from its unlisted parent company.


--China's energy consumption per unit of GDP fell 3.4 percent in the first nine months of 2012, said Xie Zhenghua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.


--China published a pamphlet showing the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China as sovereign Chinese territory, according to the State Oceanic Administration. The island chain is claimed by both China and Japan.


Overnight Media Digest



DST Systems (DST) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore
Digital Realty (DLR) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Cantor
DuPont Fabros (DFT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Cantor
PNC Financial (PNC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point
Republic Services (RSG) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman
VeriFone (PAY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Waste Management (WM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman


Adtran (ADTN) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
Altera (ALTR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at ISI Group
Cliffs Natural (CLF) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Darden (DRI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Echo Therapeutics (ECTE) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Northland
HEICO (HEI) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Intel (INTC) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
NVIDIA (NVDA) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
TIBCO (TIBX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
WESCO (WCC) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital


Bankrate (RATE) initiated with a Buy at Needham
Cobalt (CIE) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Concho Resources (CXO) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Continental Resources (CLR) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Cummins (CMI) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
Honeywell (HON) initiated with a Buy at Stifel Nicolaus
Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Limited (LTD) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
Rackspace (RAX) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Sanchez Energy (SN) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Whiting Petroleum (WLL) initiated with a Buy at UBS


Canadian Pacific (CP) plans to cut 4,500 positions by 2016, 1,700  by year end
Sees compound annual revenue growth of 4%-7% through 2016
Still sees Q4 pre-tax charge of $180M
Trinity Industries (TRN) subsidiary acquired certain operations of Texas Industries (TXI)
Texas Industries to acquire ready-mix concrete business from Trinity Industries
Chemtura (CHMT) announced joint development agreement with Caterpillar (CAT)
Goldman Sachs (GS) in pact to sell First Marblehead (FMD) stake
Tesco PLC (TSCDY) announced strategic review of Fresh & Easy
Nokia (NOK) partners with China Mobile (CHL) to launch Lumia 920T in China
Nokia Siemens Networks (NOK, SI) to sell Business Support Systems to Redknee
Teekay LNG (TGP) to acquire 50% of Exmar as result of joint venture
Eli Lilly (LLY), Strides Arcolab enter strategic partnership agreement
AOL's (AOL) Group acquired Buysight, terms not disclosed
NCI Building Systems (NCS) said FY13 should be a year of "significant growth"
Altera (ALTR) cited lower sales in 'older products' for lower Q4 revenue guidance
Sees FY13 gross margin 69%-70%
WESCO (WCC) received clearance to acquire EECOL Electric
Oil-Dri Corp. of America (ODC) declared accelerated cash dividends
Chelsea (CHTP): FDA previously said 306B unlikely to provide enough evidence for NDA
Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) announced issuance of patent related to Xyrem
American Axle (AXL) announced new business backlog of $1.25B for 2013-2015
AECOM Technology (ACM) expects to generate at least $1B free cash flow in next five years
PSEG (PEG) sees costs associated with Hurricane Sandy of $250M-$300M


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Phototronics (PLAB), Powell (POWL), AeroVironment (AVAV), Envivio (ENVI), SeaChange (SEAC), Pandora (P), Mattress Firm (MFRM)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Mitcham Industries (MIND), Oxford Industries (OXM)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Vitesse (VTSS), NCI Building Systems (NCS)


The SEC launched an investigation into a $10M stock sale by Big Lots (BIG) CEO Steven Fishman before the company announced news that sank its stock, sources say, the Wall Street Journal reports
U.S. crude-oil production reached its highest level in nearly 15 years in September, thanks in large part to the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Daily production averaged about 6.5M barrels, an increase of 16%, or about 900,000 barrels, over September 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports
The Federal Reserve is set to announce a new round of Treasury bond purchases when it meets next week, avoiding monetary policy tightening to maintain support for the weak U.S. economy amid uncertainty over the looming year-end "fiscal cliff," Reuters reports
The Pentagon approved a plan that will allow the U.S. Air Force to buy up to 36 rocket launches for government satellites from a joint venture of Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Boeing (BA), while opening up to 14 launches to competition from other companies, Reuters reports
The SEC’s move to sanction auditors for blocking investigations at China-based companies, have set a course that jeopardizes the listing of more than 100 stocks from China, Bloomberg reports
Paulson & Co.’s John Paulson, manager of $20B in hedge funds, told investors that the bulk of his losses this year came on bets that the European sovereign-debt crisis would worsen, sources say, Bloomberg reports


AcelRX (ACRX) files to sell 10M shares of common stock
Atlas Pipeline Partners (APL) 9.75M share Secondary priced at $31.00
Colony Financial (CLNY) commences offering of 10M shares of common stock
First Business Financial (FBIZ) 1.1M share Secondary priced at $23.00
LyondellBasell (LYB) announces offering of 21M ordinary shares for holders
Parkway Properties (PKY) 13.5M share Secondary priced at $13.00


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